Means of transport?

thevan1

My goal for this upcoming journey has several parts:

  • See parts of the US that I’ve never seen before.
  • Visit friends and family, including Internet friends who I’ve never met face-to-face.
  • The ability to meander wherever I want, regardless of the availability of hotels, or other places to sleep.
  • Safety first.

At the same time, I don’t want to spend a fortune–on lodging, gas, or food–to achieve these goals, and I would also like to be able to maintain a healthy lifestyle while on each part of the trip. How to manage this?

Enter the small RV. Chevy makes a wonderful small recreational vehicle called a Roadtrek. It is basically a conversion van, and includes a tiny but functional kitchen area, comparatively roomy living quarters, and one of the nicest RV bathroom facilities I’ve seen.

http://www.roadtrek.com/thevan.aspx

I think the middle size, 19-feet long, will do just fine for my purposes. It’s just a foot or two longer than most vans, has a nice long wheelbase (for stability), is not so tall that crosswinds will make it unstable, and the gas mileage is not horrible. Also, because it’s a Chevy and has a gasoline motor, any issues that crop up along the journey can be fixed at most repair shops or dealers. I understand that diesel motorhomes can cause nightmares in the case of a breakdown. Truck stops usually have places to repair diesel engines, but I have heard of one person who was stuck at a truck stop waiting for a repair for nearly a week. Not my idea of fun.

These vans include all the comforts of home: queen-sized bed, plus additional sleeping arrangements; air-conditioning and heating (propane tank); good-sized water tanks, both for fresh and dirty water; tiny refrigerator, two-burner propane stove, prep sink, and microwave; marine toilet, tiny sink, and both a handheld shower, plus an “in-aisle” drain with privacy door for a full-sized shower; Bluetooth; satellite radio; GPS; and built-in flatscreen TV. In addition, there is a dining table, full-sized mirror, and plenty of storage. What more could a girl need?

My challenge now is to find one of these gems! For my first trip (of several, I hope), I’d like to rent one. This will allow me to test the waters, and to see if what I think the benefits actually are.

More to come. Stay tuned!

January 18, 2013. Uncategorized. 5 comments.

Welcome!

My name is Karen, and I’m getting ready to embark on a grand adventure. I hope you’ll join me, as I learn more about the United States, up close and personal. I’ve traveled to 49 of the 50 states, all except Alaska, but can’t say I’ve really experienced all of them. Ohio is my home, and I feel there is plenty I can still learn and enjoy about our 88 counties, let alone the rest of the country.

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A couple of years ago I was driving from my home in Cincinnati to Florida, straight down I-75, as usual. Typically, I would leave early in the morning of the first travel day and try to make it to somewhere south of Atlanta, spend the night, and then drive on. This time, though, I had stuff going on the night before and didn’t sleep well, so was unable to really get going until a bit late, and I decided to stop near Chattanooga to rest up for the rest of the drive.

The next morning my daughter Robin called, and I told her where I was. She said “Mom! Chattanooga is one of my very favorite cities! You really should go into town and check it out.” After I checked out of the motel I used Robin’s directions to find the row of museums  along the river bluff (not yet open, that early in the day), and then to cross the Tennessee River over to the North Shore, an area along the riverfront with shops and restaurants and bars. How could I have driven up and down I-75 for more than 40 years without once stopping in such a great place? I’m ashamed of myself, for having missed this, and so many other, amazing places. Image

That trip was a revelation. I spent the rest of the time traveling a bit sideways to the beaten path, and began the first tentative steps to the odyssey on which I now am planning to embark, to expand on the idea of that first trip, and to travel the width and breadth of the US.

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I am fortunate to have lots of family and friends flung all over the country, and I plan to visit some of them (and you) on this voyage of discovery. This blog will serve as my diary, first for planning the means and the path, and then to the journey itself. My motto: You learn something new every day–if you pay attention!

January 14, 2013. Tags: . Uncategorized. 29 comments.

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